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December 31, 2014

We’re parked on the eastern edge of Yuma, with a very busy railroad track and a fairly busy highway nearby. Fortunately there seem to be no crossings of the two, so all we hear of the trains is the rumble as they pass. Unfortunately, the highway seems to have more than its share of sirens and traffic sounds and we are already missing the peace of the desert. Continue Reading »

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December 30, 2014

With our hearts still in the deep stillness of the desert, we know we need to be moving on. We have explored everything we have the proper vehicle to explore around here, so it is time to head toward Yuma. We pick up I-8 at Gila Bend and drive the hundred or so miles west to Yuma and find plenty of RV parks on the east end of town. The directory says they are all long-term parks with a few overnight spaces available, so we pick the first one we find with an easy access and discover it is cheaper than many of the others listed in the book. Continue Reading »

December 29, 2014

Monday morning at last. We make our way over to the visitor center for Cabeza Prieta, expecting to be the only ones there. Ajo is a very small town, who has ever heard of or had a burning desire to go to Cabeza Prieta, and just how long can it take to get a permit? Continue Reading »

We have thoroughly enjoyed Organ Pipe Cactus NM but the nights have turned really chilly and we are sadly missing our electric blanket. The solar panels have done a decent job of keeping the trailer batteries working and we ran the generator one evening for a while, but generator hours are limited here and everyone has done a great job of honoring those hours. Short story…it is time to move on and plug into power for a while.

Just north of the monument boundary is a tiny town named Why, AZ. Why, I wonder? Continue Reading »

December 26, 2014

After grilling steaks and baking potatoes last night (instead of the usual turkey and trimmings), we piled on the blankets and were happy to find warm sunshine in the morning.

Another beautiful, if not terribly warm day invited us to explore some more. I’d seen the term Rocky Point here and there but couldn’t figure out where it was, then discovered it’s the English translation of the very town we wanted to go see…Puerto Peñasco. The Organ Pipe’s visitor center had plenty of maps, tourist information, and helpful hints so we headed south once again, this time right on through the big brown fence.

As much as I’ve traveled in this country, I have not been to Europe or any other countries but Canada and a tiny bit of Mexico. Travel in Canada is not much different from travel here except for French subtitles on everything and remembering to look at the kph on the speedometer instead of mph. Travel in Mexico is immediately Someplace Else. But I shift mental gears, drag up what little Spanish I learned many years ago, figure out the road signs, and start feeling comfortable again.

The drive to Puerto Peñasco takes about an hour and the closer we get, the more obvious it is that Rocky Point is a tourist attraction for Americans. Multi-story hotels, apartments, condos, and beautiful homes, plus billboards all in English, don’t spell quaint fishing town on the Sea of Cortez. After a few wrong turns, we find the Old Port area and a place to park. The colorful shops and their equally colorful owners are little changed from Tijuana forty years ago. At first we just dodged them, then got with the program, laughed and kidded with them and made our way to a tiny restaurant with a marvelous view. 012

Carne asada tacos were tasty and the lemonade…really limeade…was scrumptious. After I’d finished the pico de gallo (chopped fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, and probably cilantro) and drinking the limeade, I remembered the warnings against eating fresh veggies and drinking the water and wondered if Montezuma was still taking his revenge on unsuspecting tourists. I’m happy to report I survived that yummy lunch with no ill effects at all.

Tourist traps are tourist traps and they are not our favorite destination, so we slowly made our way out of town back up the highway to the visitor center for El Pinacate. The official name of this huge national wildlife refuge is much longer but I don’t have it in front of me and everyone just refers to it as Pinacate…Spanish for black beetle. There may be some beetles there but the name comes from the huge flows of black lava from some long-ago eruption. The visitor center is extremely impressive, the first in all of Central America or Mexico (is Mexico in Central America?) to be independent of the electricity grid and water. Its contents are beautifully displayed, some even in English. The most impressive part of Pinacate is the circle drive further up the road that goes to three huge craters. But the drive takes longer than we have available so we have to be satisfied with pictures.

We finish the trip, present our passports on the south side of the fence, and in a few moments we are back in Arizona. Five miles up the road we turn off for the campground and we are home.

Christmas Day, 2014

What a different Christmas day this is! We opened presents with our son and his family before we left Santa Maria but saved back a couple of things to open here. So our 15-year-old, $10 Walmart tree has the place of honor on the picnic table beside our trailer and our gifts are spread beneath the tree. Continue Reading »

Ok, here we go…pictures at last!

002Somewhere along the Puerto Blanco Road. The tall cacti are saguaros, the small green shrubs are creosote bushes, found in every desert in the US.

026  A close-up of the ribs on a relatively young saguaro. Wind blowing through those spines makes an eerie noise.

028In the middle of this organ pipe cactus are some ribs that grow in a different manner from the rest of the plant. No one knows what causes this but it is not uncommon and can occur in most any plant.

031The same organ pipe cactus seen in the previous picture. It looks larger than it is, as I was standing a little way downhill from it. It is still impressive in size.

037The woody skeletons of two dead organ pipe cacti. Saguaros also have woody skeletons and barely move even in strong winds.

035At the head of Arch Canyon is this arch and another small one above it, not visible in this small photo. Below is the wash with the broad curve where natives planted their crops and hoped for overflow from the wash, which now looks more like a road.

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